Verizon Says Goodbye to Land Lines

Verizon

This year Verizon has been pushing hard to persuade their customers to say goodbye to their old-faithful land-lines. The outdated system has been outdated by the introduction of voice calls over wireless networks that the company has reportedly been pushing on their customers.

Land line telephones date back to 1877 when the first three-thousand telephones were in service. Bell Phone Company, under the leadership of Gardener Hubbard, enlisted the Superintendent of Mail Services, Theodore Vail, as the companies new general manager. His connections allowed the Bell to spread phone coverage to over ten-thousand phones by mid-1878. At the turn of the century Bell exploded, having eight-hundred, thousand customers. With Bell Phone Company’s patents expired, now there was a surge of competition. Phone companies flourished.

Now over one-hundred years later, major phone companies, like Verizon, are looking to say good-bye to their ancient copper wiring. Instead they offer a service called LTE Voice. This product allows customers to make their phone calls over a wireless broadband connection. Verizon prefers this plan because it can move with the customer. They even developed a product that the user can take with them when they travel, go to work, or anywhere with them. These options will not be available until 2015, but they are much more cost effective for the company. When natural disasters strike, Verizon has to repair vast lengths of expensive copper wiring. The complete transition to wireless would completely cut this cost.

One aspect of the wired phone lines that is imperative to have is the 911 response system. The wired phone line automatically transmits important information through the copper wires. This allows the police respondents to automatically have your address. Police can respond more quickly and efficiently in the case that the caller is not very responsive on the phone.

The modern wireless programs the phone company are proposing do not have the same capabilities. Police can track the general area that a call is coming from, but GPS technology can only tell police the general area you are in. This can mean the difference between life and death. When making a 911 call from a wireless network, the caller may be connected to a respondent that is not in their county or state. The caller needs to let the call-taker know what city they are calling from. Then the respondent can transfer you over to the correct region for your call. These calls take more time, and can cost lives. Verizon’s good-bye to land lines could leave many people in danger.

Land line phones can also work without power. During an emergency these age-old phones are the most reliable device for communication.  Wireless networks have been known to freeze up when there are high volumes of calls or text messages. They also do not always reach rural areas.

The company reports that they are working on new ways to improve 911 response for their wireless networks. They are determined to finally make the switch, and have everyone on the same technological page. Verizon needs to ensure the safety, and coverage of all Americans if they really want to say good-bye to good old land lines.

By Joshua Shane

Market Watch

Telephony Museum

IEEE Spectrum

 

One Response to "Verizon Says Goodbye to Land Lines"

  1. Reggie Atkinson   April 1, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Verizon tried to end copper wire on Fire Island, NY, after Hurricane Sandy, but there are old people on the island who depend on a Life Alert (or similar) system which does not work with wireless (and neither do fax machines, btw). Because of the danger to the frail and elderly due to loss of Life Alert (or similar), communities on Fire Island were able to stop Verizon from ceasing service over copper wire until Verizon can guarantee support for the old folks wirelessly.

    Reply

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